Managing a housekeeper can be frustrating at times. You may find yourself trying to walk that thin line between being a nice person and being a boss. In actuality, it is quite possible to be both. I let the Golden Rule be my guide, and simply treat my housekeeper the way I would want to be treated if I held the same job. There is some strategy involved, however, and attention to detail can result in a more pleasant - and clean - experience.
Get to know them. My housekeeper is phenomenal, so getting to know her and her family came naturally. Each week when she arrives, we take a few minutes to chat, asking about each other's families and recent events in our lives. This mutual show of respect is obviously genuine and goes a long way to ensure pride in workmanship.
Clean your house before they arrive. Most people think I'm crazy, but I spend a good hour and a half straightening my house before my housekeeper arrives. That includes fully making my bed, even though she always changes my bed linens. My theory is that walking into a neat and clean house sets the expectations higher than if the house was a complete disaster. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Don't tip the same each week. If you tip the same amount each week, that amount becomes meaningless and expected. Instead, I purposely alter the amount I tip based on anything that stood out as good or bad the week before. This lets your housekeeper know that you are paying attention, and that quality service is indeed, important to you.
Point out problems and praise excellence. After we exchange pleasantries about our families, I spend a few minutes going over anything new or different for that week. This is the time I point out problem areas from the week before or genuinely thank her for something she did that was above and beyond. Pointing out problems doesn't need to be uncomfortable and should never be done in a condescending manner.
Maintain good absentee management. If you work outside the home and your housekeeper comes while you're away at work, it is even more important to keep the lines of communication open. Ask your housekeeper to call you each week when she arrives at the house, and have the same conversations by phone that you would have in person. Although this means of communication is more difficult than face-to-face interaction, it is vital to maintaining a good relationship and getting optimal results.
More from Cherri: